Orion Watches Takes to the Skies With Their Latest, the Pilot-Inspired Hellcat

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Orion Watches is back with their latest release, a followup to the well-liked (and well-named) Calamity dive watch. Their newest release, dubbed the Hellcat, is very much in the same vein as Orion’s previous watches, and it’s nice to see a unified design language begin to form around the brand. Military history buffs will have already guessed that the Hellcat is a pilot’s watch, and although it definitely has some classical pilot watch design cues, it’s set apart in a few key areas to bring it into modern times.


Orion Hellcat 

  • Case Material: Stainless steel
  • Dial: Black, red 
  • Dimensions: 39 x 10.5 x 47mm 
  • Crystal: Sapphire  
  • Water Resistance: 100 meters 
  • Crown: Screw down         
  • Movement: Miyota 9015
  • Strap/bracelet: Leather  
  • Price: $600
  • Reference Number: n/a
  • Expected Release: April 2020 

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The Hellcat is 39mm in diameter and features a case with alternating bead blasted and polished surfaces. The level of detail in the finishing that Orion is able to achieve is actually quite impressive. In the photos you can see the thin bevel running along the side of the lugs — this is a classic design cue and a good indicator to potential customers that brand owner Nick Harris is a true enthusiast, inspired by some of the most classic vintage watches. Critically, the watch lacks crown guards, giving the wearer maximum flexibility when it comes to winding and time setting. This, of course, is another vintage inspired touch that also helps to streamline the case lines a great deal. 

Pilot’s watches are often rather staid affairs with relentlessly simple hour markers and handsets. This is a necessity for this type of watch, as legibility needs to be a primary concern. One of the ways Orion has put their own spin on the genre is to create their own typeface for the Hellcat’s Arabic numerals and dial signature. The result is something that’s at once both modern and ornate. It’s literally a new creation, but also clearly speaks to the past — it looks like a font from some yet undiscovered and long forgotten vintage watch. 

The Hellcat will be available in two dial variants. A traditional black, and a glossy and vibrant red. The latter is the version that really makes the Hellcat something unique in a space filled with competition. Yes, there are other red dials out there, but I struggle to think of another watch with this type of pilot watch aesthetic matched with such an anachronistic dial color. Black, white, and even blue pilot’s watches are common enough, but the red is unique, and almost subverts the genre. 

The Orion Hellcat is available for pre-order now, and is expected to be delivered in April 2020. Orion

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Zach is a native of New Hampshire, and he has been interested in watches since the age of 13, when he walked into Macy’s and bought a gaudy, quartz, two-tone Citizen chronograph with his hard earned Bar Mitzvah money. It was lost in a move years ago, but he continues to hunt for a similar piece on eBay. Zach loves a wide variety of watches, but leans toward classic designs and proportions that have stood the test of time. He is currently obsessed with Grand Seiko.
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